15 things I learned yesterday from Leslie Desmond

By , May 28, 2015 4:15 pm

Yesterday I went up to Meath to watch Leslie Desmond teach. She co-wrote the Bill Dorrance book. Here is what I wrote down in my notepad.

– Most horses are turned to the left with the right hip hanging back. This is because we mainly handle them on the near side. Leslie uses halters that knot on the off side.

– The back of the rope halter should be behind the jawbone.

– Don’t stand in front of your horse or beside your horses head. Your whole body being so close to his eye and face is uncomfortable for the horse. Stand back by the stirrup and give your horse some room. You can also do something useful then by scratching his rump while you’re there.

– If you stare at your horses face while you lead / circle if makes it confusing / uncomfortable for your horse. Same if you don’t breathe. Leslie then showed us a demo of how two people walk together, side by side, holding hands and both looking forwards.

– You need a soft feel and a light backup without pulling on your horse.

– Do lateral flexion at halt, don’t take slack out of rope and horse not to move his feet. Go real slow when you ask. Ask by putting your arm out to the side, not by pulling your arm back to the saddle.

– Do you stop breathing when you pick up your reins?

– When you rub your horse does he step away? Then you’re doing it more for your benefit than for the horses. So stop doing it.

– Leave out all confrontation when bridling.

– Mounting – Left hand on mane, right hand on other side of saddle. You ONLY put your weight in the saddle AFTER both feet are in the stirrups. Otherwise its a fast way to get bucked off a young horse with only 1 stirrup.

– Mecate length – When your horses turns his head, extra mecate length should not fit under your foot.

– Consider yourself from your horses point of view. Not many people do that. But we should.

– Leave your horse with his dignity.

– Trot diagonals – When going left, post on the right diagonal, as its perfect as this is the same diagonal pair that is used in cantering to the left. So it makes it easy for the horse to pick a left lead. If you post on the other diagonal it makes it much hard for the horse to get into canter on the left lead. makes it really tricky & unbalancing for young horses as well if you get this wrong.

– On a circle, don’t always disengage a horse to stop him. If you do this a lot, can end up with horse learning to stop with one hind foot more forward than the other in halt. Too much of this disengaging on circle = not good. Stop on a straight line instead.

Hope that was useful!

One Response to “15 things I learned yesterday from Leslie Desmond”

  1. susan beavis says:


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